Analysis: What is the state of Cuban spying in the US?

Gwen Myers

Gwen Myers

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
The recent arrest by the FBI of Walter Kendall Myers and his wife Gwendolyn Steingraber Myers, on charges of spying for Cuba for over 30 years, offers a good opportunity to contemplate the current state of Cuban espionage in the US. In an article published in The Miami Herald, Juan Tamayo relays a brief history of Cuban espionage in the US, from the first decades (1950-1980), when the island’s intelligence services were “regarded as among the world’s best”, to the purges of the late 1980s, to today. Tamayo correctly states that only four Cuban spies were arrested in the US and only around 30 Cuban “diplomats” were either expelled or denied entry during the Cold War. This was standard practice in the Soviet-oriented US intelligence services, which generally preferred to simply keep tabs on known non-Soviet communist bloc spies operating inside the US and only nab them “when they got too frisky”. After all, what would be the point in “arresting or expelling someone and then having to spot the replacements”? However, recent arrests of Cuban agents in the United States, culminating with the Myers couple, may signal a change in tactics by US counterintelligence agencies, who now consider the Myers case as the most damaging espionage infiltration in the US since Robert Hanssen. What is more, some believe that Cuba still maintains “approximately 250 agents and agent-handling officers in the United States”. The Miami Herald article quotes former US Defense Intelligence Agency expert on Cuba, Chris Simmons, who believes the above number includes “six to nine senior agents within the US government”, and “135 or so” making the rounds in the Cuban exile community in Florida.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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